Romanian education minister resigns after plagiarism accusations

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu resigned under public pressure late on Thursday after allegations he plagiarised a university course he had taught.

He has denied the allegations and said he took over the course with the consent of its other authors.

Plagiarism is widespread in the European Union state among lawmakers, former cabinet ministers and magistrates, eroding trust in public institutions.

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca has himself been accused of plagiarising parts of his doctoral thesis on military science, allegations he denies.

An investigation by news website PressOne alleged Cimpeanu, a former university rector who has been education minister three times since 2014, plagiarised 13 chapters of a course he taught at the University of Agronomy and Veterinarian Medicine.

Cimpeanu was first appointed education minister under a cabinet led by former leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who handed back his doctorate after plagiarism charges against him were confirmed.

Since then, policymakers have chipped away at the academic world's ability to tackle plagiarism.

Under Cimpeanu, the ministry has been working on a package of changes to education laws. One of the provisions would put a statute of limitations of three years on plagiarism charges. The government has yet to approve the changes.

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Mark Potter)